By Amanda Holpuch | Guardian.co.uk
Microsoft creates Facebook app that will allow Washington state voters to register to vote through the social networking site
Washington is expected to become the first state in the US to offer voters the opportunity to register via Facebook with a new application that could launch as early as next week.
Facebook, in collaboration with Microsoft, approached Washington just as state officials were looking for ways to increase the use of its existing online voter registration programs and MyVote online service.
The application takes an individual’s name and date of birth – information Facebook already has stored – and opens a frame within the Facebook page that takes users to the voting portals on offer.
Washington’s co-director of elections Shane Hamlin said that the data would not be collected by Facebook.
"Even though you’re on a Facebook page, the information you provide to us isn’t going through them," Hamlin told the Guardian. "They’re not collecting it and giving it to us, you’re interacting directly with us, but in a frame that is Facebook’s – and you get to us through Facebook."
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the application.
Lillie Coney, associate director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, recommends that users avoid the Facebook app and register directly through Washington’s voter registration website.
Coney said: "Facebook is known for taking whatever data users provide through Facebook and having access to that. In providing even more personal information, like driver’s license number and current mailing address, the information could be used in ways that people would not anticipate with the app."
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